WELSH Water is spending £31 million to improve the drinking water network in Hereford.

It is increasing the size of its Bewdley Bank service reservoir, near Burghill, and installing a new water main between the reservoir and the outskirts of the city.

It is also replacing or cleaning about 60 kilometres of smaller distribution pipes in the area.

The company says the work will ensure it can continue to supply customers in and around Hereford with clean, fresh drinking water for years to come.

Welsh Water is the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, and it supplies most of Herefordshire.

For the first six months of the year (April to September), the company announced it had invested £218 million in capital projects to support the resilience of its water and wastewater network across most of Wales and Herefordshire. It expects to invest around £440 million by the end of the year.

The latest independent research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater: Water Matters Report 2019) showed that last year, the company had the highest ratings for both customer satisfaction with its services and value for money, and the highest levels of customer trust of any water and sewerage company in England and Wales.

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It comes as the company was confirmed as being ranked in top position overall for all water companies in England and Wales for the year to date for Ofwat’s new customer satisfaction surveys (C-MeX).

In its half-year financial report, the company confirmed strong financial and operational performance, high levels overall of water and wastewater standards, and a continued reduction in written complaints by customers.

This came after the company confirmed it had achieved a decade of below-RPI inflation price rises, the average household bill for 2019/20 being around £88 lower than it would have been had water bills kept pace with inflation over the last decade.

The company also reported a significant reduction in its operational carbon footprint over the past decade, with a reduction of just under 80 per cent in its emissions thanks to improved energy efficiency, an expansion of renewable energy and a new commitment to buy green-only energy.

Welsh Water’s 70 members will be asked to approve the change at special meeting in December. The company’s members hold the board to account, are unpaid and have no financial stake in the business.

Chairman Alastair Lyons said: “The first six months of the year reflect good overall performance and continued record levels of investment in our network and customer service – a reflection of the great work done across all areas of the business. Our challenge as a company is to maintain this performance for the rest of the year.

“Our plans for the new five-year investment period reflect what our customers have said they want from us, aiming to balance maintaining vital investment in our services, protecting the environment, and keeping customer bills as affordable as possible. This is at the heart of both our short and long-term focus as a company.”

Welsh Water chief executive Chris Jones said: “I am encouraged by the strong operational and financial position the company is in as we prepare to enter a very challenging, new five-year regulatory period early next year.

“Our investment programme remains at record-high levels – building the resilience of our water and wastewater network in the face of long-term challenges such as climate change - while realising our promise to ensure a decade of below-RPI inflation price increases every year for our customers.

“These achievements exemplify our proposed new statement of the company’s purpose – to enhance the wellbeing of our customers and the communities we serve, both now and for generations to come.”